Brides & Grooms, Do Your Research. Advise from a Northeast Ohio Wedding Photographer

I am a member of a pretty amazing group on Facebook, it’s called Northeast Ohio Wedding Resale. The group was formed by some pretty awesome photographers from Brass Key Photography, based right out of Northeast Ohio. Thanks to this group, a local “photographer” was caught using stolen images on his website, used to attract clients. This “company,” called Bou-Jai Studios, stole images from local photographers, online stock images, wedding catalogs, and even from a National Geographic photographer, and passed them off on their website as their own. Disgusting, I know. Sadly, this happens all the time. Since being exposed, they have taken all of their images down. You can view more about this subject on a website called Stop Stealing Photos, and can view the post here Bou-Jai Studios in Cuyahoga Falls.

Why am I telling you all about this? There are many reasons. First off, I want to expose this company so no one else is scammed by them. We all know how much of your hard earned money goes in to real professional portraits and wedding photos. No one deserves to be scammed by false hope, misrepresentation, or thieves in general.  Secondly, to expose this so called company for what they are. They stole other artists work. Work that they put their heart and soul in to, their own sweat and tears, and their own hard earned money. Lastly, I want you all to do your research when looking for your photographer. What kind of research? I will get in to that in my next paragraph.


I know that a budget is a huge deciding factor when looking for a photographer, especially for a wedding. For me, being a wedding photographer, that was the largest part of our budget. I knew that these images were so important, ones that I want my grandchildren to look at one day. I knew I had to hire a true, honest, and talented photographer. The saying holds true, you do get what you pay for. So please, do not diminish your big day, by hiring just anybody because they will do it cheap. Either you are going to get scammed, or your photos will not be what they could be. Maybe they will, but it is a huge risk for such an important event.


Always meet your potential wedding photographer! If they decline a meeting, run! Meet up with them, ask to see prints of their work, and always ask to see a few wedding galleries. WHOLE wedding day galleries! Do not just trust the pretty photos that they have on their website, or social media. As in the case I talked about earlier, had couples met with that company and asked to see the whole gallery from any of their images, they would have known they were scammers. Also, by viewing an entire gallery, you are seeing how capable the photographer is in all conditions. Not all locations have the best light, sometimes the bride is getting ready in a dark basement and the photographer needs to know how to handle the light situation, just as in an up-lit reception.


Another great idea is to look at their reviews. Yes, there are not so nice people in the world that leave horrible reviews that have not even worked with the photographer(sadly it happens), but there are a lot of amazing and real clients that leave amazing reviews. You can view my Facebook reviews here, Lindsay Dawn Photography. And look at the photographers responses to those reviews as well.


My final thought on this is to ask your potential photographer about styled photos. There is nothing wrong with being a part of a styled shoot, but there is a huge difference between those and a real wedding day, where you cannot control the elements. Below is from an amazing styled shoot I was a part of while in Baltimore. Is it gorgeous? Yes!Is it a real couple? Yes! But, all elements could be controlled and were planned by professionals in the industry. I have blogged about styled shoots before, you can find it here:  Styled Shoot.


I hope you found this helpful while searching for your Northeast Ohio Wedding & Portrait Photographer. Happy planning!!!

Lindsay Dawn Photography



Styled Shoot – AKP Coastal Retreat – Northeast Ohio Wedding Photographer

Back in January, I attended my third AKP Retreat in Destin, Florida. What is the AKP Retreat? Here is a quote, from my friend & founder of the whole experience, “The Ashton Kelley Photography Retreat is a workshop for photographers. It’s centered around travel, motivation, support, creativity, and education. Our goal is to take you out of your comfort zone and introduce you to new people, new places, new destination portfolio opportunities, and the best vibes.” A lot of my friends & clients have asked me what these retreats are all about, and Ashton’s quote sums it up perfectly. Most importantly for me, it is about continued education for myself and my clients of Northeast Ohio. I love being a wedding photographer, being a part of such an important day, and by continuing my education I am giving my clients that much more every single wedding.


What is a styled shoot? A styled shoot is NOT a real wedding, it is important to know that. On a real wedding day, your photographer has many different elements and surprises to deal with, for example: lighting changes, people in the way, extreme weather, pressure, etc.( This is why you ONLY hire a professional wedding photographer!) A styled shoot is controlled, to a point (we did have extreme cold and wind in Destin), and designed to perfection. It is designed to showcase beautiful and unique details to inspire couples, showcase the photographer’s destination wedding skills, create stock photos for the photographer, as well as forcing the photographer to think outside the box and expand their creativity.


What else can be learned from a styled shoot? Different perspectives. By working side by side with other wedding photographer’s from all over the country, you see how others work, their own unique approach to details and showcasing them, as well as their own way of posing a bride and groom. Sometimes, the couple used as the bride and groom are models, and other times like in Destin, they are a real married couple. The couple in Destin were actually celebrating their 10th wedding anniversary!


If you question whether a photographer is only displaying images from a styled shoot, ask them about it. When choosing your Northeast Ohio wedding or destination wedding photographer, be sure they show you real wedding galleries, of the full day! You want to know that they can handle the real elements of a wedding day, from the dark church basement to the uplighting of a reception. If they cannot show you a full wedding gallery, move on. You deserve the best on your wedding day!



See more on my website:

Lindsay Dawn Photography

Find me on Facebook:

Lindsay Dawn Photography

On Instagram:

Lindsay Dawn Photography


Special thanks to my friend, Ashton, of Ashton Kelley Photography, for hosting another amazing experience. I love you girl! And, special thanks to all of the amazing vendors!

Event: AKP Coastal Retreat

Designs & Florals: Simply Gorgeous Events by Lara-Jill

Venue: Destin Bay House

Paper: Rock Paper Sisters

HMUA: Powder N Paint

Cake: Blue Lace Cakes

Ring Box: The Mrs. Box

Ribbon: illume Silk Ribbons & Adorn Company

Runner: Green Earth Studio